Late Thursday morning, Kansas University junior Andie McKenzie — among 14 residents displaced by a Wednesday night fire at Berkeley Flats apartment complex — was still waiting to inspect the damage in her first-floor apartment.
Since the fire, which began about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday and affected 12 apartments in the complex at 1123 Ind., McKenzie had been confined to peeking in the window, as fire crews cleared out debris.
The fire was ruled accidental, caused by “improper discardment of smoking material,” according to a news release from Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical. No injuries were reported, but damages to two apartment buildings, which are on Mississippi Street, were estimated at $400,000.
McKenzie stayed Wednesday night with friends who live nearby, stuck with the only things she had with her before the fire — her cell phone, its charger and a calculus textbook.
Both KU officials and the complex’s management company, Nolan Real Estate Services, had been helpful in the aftermath of the fire, she said. A professor excused her from a test scheduled for Thursday, and the management company is offering residents spots in its other properties in Lawrence, she said.
Some other residents stayed in a hotel Wednesday night courtesy of the Douglas County chapter of the American Red Cross, said Jane Blocher, executive director. Displaced residents — all of whom had renter’s insurance as a requirement of the management company — also received a debit card with money to buy food, clothes or other necessities.
The residents had impressed Blocher with their attitude during and after the fire.
“I cannot believe the poise and the calm and the gratitude,” Blocher said.
The Journal-World was unable to contact a representative from Nolan Real Estate Thursday, and it’s unclear whether residents of any of the affected apartments will be able to move back in.